New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet and sports editor Jason Stallman sent the following note to staff on Monday:
To the Staff,
The biggest story in sports these days is the money that is sloshing through college sports, quasi-legal gambling, and professional soccer and football. It is the story of colleges like Rutgers struggling to compete with big money powerhouses like Ohio State. It is the story of college players pushing to be paid like professionals. It is a story our sports section and investigative team have owned. Now, to bring further power to that coverage, Joe Nocera, one of the country’s best business writers and one of the people who has helped us command that coverage, will be rejoining the newsroom to write a column for Sports about the business of sports.
It is hard to imagine anyone better qualified to make this a Times franchise.
Joe came to The Times in April 2005 and spent five-plus years writing the “Talking Business” column before going to Op-Ed four and a half years ago. His interest in sports, and the NCAA in particular, was sparked by a story he wrote in the Sunday magazine in December 2011, “Let’s Start Paying The Players.” And that coverage has culminated with the forthcoming book “Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against The NCAA,” co-authored with Ben Strauss, a sports contributor to The Times. Most important, he is brimming with ideas.
Andy Rosenthal said, “In his time as an Op-Ed columnist Joe has covered so many issues that I can’t list them. But his columns about sports, injuries and the big business of college athletics have stood out in particular. So it made total sense when Dean suggested having him create a column on those issues for sports.”
This appointment continues our efforts to stretch the boundaries of sports coverage in The Times. Our ambitions have already drawn some of the newsroom’s best writers to Jason’s department, and led to some of the most creative projects. Though Joe will primarily be a columnist, we would be crazy not to turn to him on occasion for big projects.
His appointment is effective immediately.